Miami Open Day Five Tips: Khachanov value against overperforming Sinner

Russian Tennis Player Daniil Medvedev
Tournament favourite Daniil Medvedev is the only heavy favourite today...

The Miami Masters moves towards the third round stage today, with all players now having at least one win in the tournament so far. Dan Weston returns to discuss Sunday's action...

"On hard courts in the last year, Sinner is 8-1 on tiebreaks and is running at 6.4% over expectation (based on service points won percentages) on break points on his serve. Having analysed these figures for the entire tour for a number of years, this overperformance on key points and stages in the game is basically unsustainable in the long run, and based on historical evidence, will mean-revert downwards at some stage."

De Minaur shocked as Cilic edges Garin

Saturday's biggest surprise was Alex De Minaur's three-set loss to the Colombian clay-courter Daniel Galan Riveros, and most other favourites progressed on what was a pretty mediocre day for underdog backers.

Our pick, Marin Cilic, edged a nail-biter against Christian Garin via a final-set tiebreak, and arguably that victory was fortunate - Cilic faced five more break points on his serve, and won one point fewer in the match. However, we've been on the wrong side of this type of variance many times in the past, so we'll gladly take it and move on.

The schedule scales down in terms of volume from today with the third round commencing, and there will be eight matches across the next two days as this round progresses.

Unlike yesterday, there's not an abundance of heavy favourites with just tournament favourite Daniil Medvedev an overwhelmingly heavy favourite for his match against Alexei Popyrin. Roberto Bautista-Agut is a little bigger at 1.331/3 as he meets Jan-Lennard Struff, which looks a bit short. Every other player is around 1.501/2 or bigger on today's schedule.

Norrie can compete with Fritz

Cameron Norrie has done reasonably well this year, with a semi-final in Delray Beach and decent underdog wins so far in 2021 against Dan Evans, Fabio Fognini and this week, Grigor Dimitrov. Today, he meets Taylor Fritz who has also won more than he's lost this year, including reaching the semi-final in Doha several weeks ago.

Both players have decent hard court numbers - over 100% combined service/return points won - since the tour resumed last summer and I'm a little surprised about Fritz's price at 1.664/6. I make this match a little more competitive than that.

Khachanov potentially a false underdog against Sinner

However for today's pick, I want to focus on Karen Khachanov for his match against Jannik Sinner. Many of Khachanov's losses this year have come in tight matches against good players - including a 6-7 6-4 6-7 loss to Sinner in the Great Ocean Road Open in February.

In that match, he actually had 17 break point chances Sinner's 12, so it was a tough loss for the Russian against a player in Sinner who has massive potential, but who has arguably had variance on his side since the tour resumed.

On hard courts in the last year, Sinner is 8-1 on tiebreaks and is running at 6.4% over expectation (based on service points won percentages) on break points on his serve. Having analysed these figures for the entire tour for a number of years, this overperformance on key points and stages in the game is basically unsustainable in the long run, and based on historical evidence, will mean-revert downwards at some stage.

I think this is a major factor in Sinner being over-rated by the markets today against Khachanov, who has won a higher percentage of service points and return points on hard courts in the last year, and given that he's available at 2.568/5 for this clash, looks like being some value - I actually make Khachanov a slight favourite to win here.

Ruusuvuori on verge of big breakthrough

In other matches, I'm looking forward to seeing Emil Ruusuvuori meet Mikael Ymer, with this potentially being a big breakthrough tournament for the Finn with the draw in quarter two potentially opening up for him, while the market looks pretty accurate in the other matches as well with no major discrepancices compared to my model outputs.

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